Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dishwasher vs Hand Washing

Oh Bullshit.

That was my reaction when I first heard and then read on that to conserve water, the winner was the automatic dishwasher.  I don't use mine too much anymore.

Researching the topic, I found that the Bonn study that reported the results was funded by manufacturers of dishwashers:
Bosch-Siemens Hausgeräte

According to posts, they used the handwashing group from Europeans that tend to leave the water running constantly while rinsing. 103 liters of water?  That sounds kind of excessive. I use less than one sink full of water to wash and rinse most days (just a bit of soapy water in one sink, then rinse above that so the water accumulates in the same sink - turning the water on and off).  Then the clean dishes go into the dishwasher to air dry.  I don't have a drying rack, so that part works out pretty good.  In the summer, I use tepid water to wash, mostly cold water to rinse.  Most of the time, I'll leave the water in the sink to wash off my hands if they just need a rinse, to wash as I go if I'm cooking, or to soak pots.

Dishwasher or hand washing - Consider the energy consumption of your water heater while it's replacing the hot water used.  Consider the amount of energy used during manufacturing the dishwasher, and the freight from moving said dishwasher to a warehouse, then to the store, then to your house. 

In 15 years, we had three different dishwashers.  We just couldn't keep them going for longer than a few years.  Looking back, I see what a waste of money and energy to keep buying them.  During that time frame, I did dishes for two of those years.  I liked not having to bend over practically to the floor to unload the dishwasher, so it wasn't bad.  One cool thing is that you can really pile dishes into that top rack.  I have even laid the silverware in the top rack when I didn't have many dishes to do.   

So get in gear, save some money, electricity and water by washing those dishes by hand.  Just make sure you use enough water to rinse 'em, nothing worse than having your drinks taste vaguely of dish soap.

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